Last week I wrote about using the Desktop side of Windows 8; this week is about the User Interface, Metro, or start screen.
Using the UI side of Windows, I found it very cumbersome. Trying to navigate with a mouse is challenging, as the tiles are looking for gestures that mice cannot emulate very well. Everything is full-screen, and trying to retrieve a program or browser window that moved off the screen is very hard. All active programs are on the left side of the screen, and if you place your cursor there, you have to click on a thumbnail to bring the screen up for use.
The program I find the most irritating is Internet Explorer; there are no tabs as we are used to; you can have as many open web pages as you want, but to swap from one to another requires a left-click on the screen that then opens a window with all the open pages; you cannot just click on a tab to change screens.
One thing I found as a gigantic step backward is that Windows 8, because it is for fingers, depends on keyboard shortcuts for navigation, so to somewhat easily move from app to app, you have to remember a two-key shortcut, like “Windows Key and Tab”.
Getting new programs is a breeze from the UI screen; open up the Microsoft Store tile, and you have access to hundreds of applications--some free, and some for a few bucks. I have installed several games from the Store and found the free ones are worth what you pay for them; they are klutzy, poorly done and half will not run on a PC.
For those of you who use smartphones, this may be an easy or easier transition, or if you have a touch screen machine, it may be easier, but using Window 8 on a traditional PC reduces the productivity greatly.
One thing in Windows 8’s defense: it is probably one of the best operating systems ever created, it runs well on machines that Vista and Windows 7 would not think of running on, and if you let it, every app can stay open, quietly sitting in the background until you need it again.
In closing, I can only say that as Microsoft works on the interface of Windows 8 to make it more user-friendly on desktops and laptops, it is actually a well-executed operating system, but usable with limitations.
‘til next week
Robert - 360-497-3130 Cell
Please send your questions to
snail mail to:
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Randle, WA 98377
Index to Past ComputerFAQ Columns:
July 31, 2013 Windows 8.1 Part 2
July 24, 2013 Windows 8.1 Part 1
July 17, 2013 Windows XP Expires April, 2014
July 10, 2013 PC Won't Boot AND Toolbars
July 3, 2013 Helpful Hints - 2nd Users on Your PC
June 26, 2013 PC SCAM - Part 2
June 19, 2013 PC Money SCAM-READ THIS
June 12, 2013 CAUTION New Viruses AND Trojans
June 5, 2013 WIFI vs Cable
May 29, 2013 On-Line Help-BEWARE
May 22, 2013 Faxing With Multi-Function Printers
May 15, 2013 Scanners and Software
May 8, 2013 Battery Replacement May Be Necessary
May 1, 2013 Zombies Search Your Personal Info
April 24, 2013 Java and Adobe Updates NOT to be Ignored
April 17, 2013 Passwords And Email
April 10, 2013 Spring Cleaning-The Inside
April 3, 2013 Spring Cleaning for Your PC
March 27, 2013 Microsoft WORKS Great Substitute for Office
March 20, 2013 Windows 8 UPDATE
March 13, 2013 Helpful Equipment
March 6, 2013 Build Your Own PC
February 27, 2013 Build Your Own PC
February 20, 2013 More Help with Viruses
February 13, 2013 VIRUSes How Did I Get It?????
February 6, 2013 VIRUSes EXPECT A BAD YEAR!
January 23, 2013 Protect Your Computer from JAVA Vulnerability
January 16, 2013 Driver Update Managers
January 9, 2013 Unwanted Programs & Tools Bars
January 2, 2013 Randome Loss Of Interne
December 19, 2012 Recovery Disks
December 12, 2012 Warranty Service Part 2